Pure Diva

Geoff Adams
Otago Daily Times (NZ)

“Tribute to Joan Hammond” is the subtitle for this disc. The message comes from one of her Australian pupils who has since made her own notable career in major opera houses and concert halls. Eight tracks accompanied by orchestra under Guillaume Tourniaire display her fine lyric soprano voice in grand opera by Verdi (three scenes), Tchaikovsky, Dvořák, Korngold, Offenbach and Purcell. The final four tracks, accompanied by pianist Timothy Young, contrast with the preceding drama – Hammond’s encore pieces, including Home Sweet Home and The Last Rose of Summer, and rarity Shadows, written by an Australian composer.

Detailed recording, lyrics and excellent notes (did you know Joan Hammond was born in Christchurch in 1912, but moved to Sydney as a baby?).
Highlight: Dvořák’s haunting Song to the Moon.